Monday, December 19, 2016

October 30

I wasn’t allowed to spend more than two hours at the hospital this morning. Kini and Meyso agreed it was time for me to take one of those breaks I’d been warned was coming.

I guess I was due. Mom is doing better. The odd jerking motions have quit. She speaks in complete, lucid sentences now. When Anrel is brought in to visit, Mom is the adoring grandmom every child deserves. She’s calm enough that she’s out of stasis now and gets to hold her granddaughter for the few minutes of strength she can manage.

Mom is still unhappy about being operated on without her permission. The day she found out she had been treated for bipolar disorder brought out her verbal worse. She dropped the F-bomb every other word. Thank the prophets we made sure Anrel wasn’t around for the big reveal. Funny enough, she reserved the worst of her anger not for me, but for Meyso and Kini. Kini had nothing to do with any of it, but he’s a psychiatrist, so he’s guilty by default.

I got my share of ire too, but not nearly the amount I expected. I think she doesn’t want to do anything that will result in me keeping Anrel from her. Not that I would. As long as Mom can behave herself around the baby, she can see her all she wants. I’m not so petty that I’ll keep Anrel away from a loving grandparent.

But anyway, back to the day out. Aslada, Jaon, and Meyso swept into the room as I sat with Mom. She was carefully holding Anrel. The three men, referred to by Mom as my ‘harem’ or my ‘pet dicks’ depending on her mood, bowed to her with the utmost respect.

“Good morning, Matara Eve,” Aslada said at his smoothest. “You look remarkable today.”

“If by ‘remarkable’, you mean washed up, worn out, and like the unwiped ass of a Tragoom, then you’re in the ballpark, Dramok Assalot or whatever your name is,” Mom snarled.

“Language,” I sighed.

“Ah, crap on it,” she groaned and gave each of Anrel’s ears a kiss. “Sorry, sweet baby. Mimi’s mouth gets away from her too much.” To make up for her mistake, she gave Clan Aslada the fakest smile I’ve ever seen a person wear. “Why thank you, Kalquorian whose name I can never remember and wish would let me call you ‘Al’. A most lovely day to you and your pals Jay and Mikey.”

Mom hates Kalquorian names. I’m pretty sure she remembers them all, but is too obstinate to use them. She’s renamed almost everyone who takes care of her, as well as my beaus. Jaon is Jay when he’s not Jackass, Meyso is Mikey when he’s not Dr. Dickhead. Dr. Kini is Ken when he’s not Shit-for-Brains.

Mom is not a fan of any of them. They are unfailingly respectful and polite. If she’s pissed them off at any point, they have yet to indicate it to me. I really am impressed with everyone who has to deal with her since she gives them nonstop hell.

Even after being called Assalot, Aslada only grinned at her. “If I let you get away with calling me Al, you’ll have to find something new about me to find fault with. Since I’m so nearly perfect outside of my name, I don’t want to put you through all that stress.”

Mom turned Anrel around so she was facing away. She mouthed, kiss my ass, at Aslada, but she almost smiled as she said it. I saw that merry twinkle in her eye and how her lips fought to quirk upward.

Someone’s being won over, ha-ha.

“My clan is taking your daughter and granddaughter away for a much-needed day of fun,” Aslada told Mom. “You’ve been shamelessly keeping them all to yourself, and our jealousy can’t take any more.”

She arched a brow at him. “Oh, and I suppose you think I’m having the time of my life, stuck here in this bed with a bunch of musclebound meatheads – yeah, I’m looking at you Mikey – being poked and having my brain turned inside out.”

“I’ve think you’ve been through quite the ordeal and deserve to have your every whim blatantly and unapologetically indulged once you are strong enough for it.” Aslada’s charm was verging on outrageous, and I had to snicker at the performance.

Mom wasn’t impressed. “I think you’re full of shi—uh, crap.” She remembered Anrel just in time.

“You wouldn’t be the first to reach that conclusion. Still, I do think it is time Shalia and Anrel took a break for their own good.”

Mom snorted. “When did you become a doctor, Al?”

“Aslada. Meyso and Kini agree.”

“Yeah, Goofus and Doofus’s opinions matter so much to me.” Despite her disdain, Mom’s gaze slid to me. “You and the baby have been here a lot though. You should run off for a little while. I can’t have you getting sick of me.”

“I’m not sick of you,” I protested. “You’re recovering from some serious stuff.”

“Whatever. Get out of here. Get Anrel some air. Have some fun. Get laid, if these clowns are any good. Are they?”

“Jeez, Mom,” I sighed. “You need barriers.”

“I am curious about one thing,” she said, a quizzical look on her face. “Is their stuff in proportion to the rest of them? Big and meaty?”

I took Anrel from her. “We’ll see you later, Mom. Don’t give Dr. Kini too much of a hard time.”

“If I don’t, he’ll keel over in shock. Have fun. You three, don’t core her like an apple, right? She might want more kids, so don’t wear her stuff out.”

Sweet prophets, save me from that woman. She is too much.

We left the clinic staff to Mom’s tender mercies. I stepped outside to bask in bright, warm sunlight, heading towards the shuttle bay. Anrel chortled, and Meyso scooped her from my arms to adore her with kisses and silly faces.

“Wow, fresh air,” I said as Aslada took my arm. “I feel like a butterfly coming out of a cocoon.”

“You’ve cooped yourself up with your mother for too long,” Aslada sighed. “We should have insisted you take a break before this, but we knew how worried you were for her. We were afraid you’d resist until she was doing better.”

I had to shake my head and giggle. “She’s giving everyone hell now. I think that’s a pretty good indication that she’s on the road to recovery. Thanks to Meyso.”

He grinned at me as he bounced a happy Anrel in his arms. “It has been my pleasure to see her recovering.”

“Even with all the insults and yelling? And crude questions?” I wondered what they really thought of her.

Jaon threw his head back and laughed. “I always look forward to hearing what Matara Eve will come up with next. She says exactly what is on her mind and doesn’t care how anyone feels about it. It’s refreshing to hear someone so blunt.”

Trust a Nobek to enjoy Mom’s potty mouth. “Seriously, guys. There must be times when you want to shove a towel in her trap to shut her up.”

Meyso shook his head. “You told us what to expect. She has been through a lot. Not just her mental issues, but also the repressive atmosphere she came from. She’s enjoying her freedom to say exactly what’s on her mind with no repercussions. I can’t imagine how liberating that must feel.”

I rolled my eyes. “She was plenty liberated back on Earth when it was just her and me and no one else was around.”

We had reached the bay. We climbed in the clan’s big shuttle and had a seat. Aslada waved a careless hand at the pilot. “We’re ready as planned.”

The decision on where we would go had already been made. I wondered where we were off to, but I had another question first. I looked at Aslada, who sat next to me and held my hand.

“You’re quiet on how Mom’s attitude is affecting you,” I noted.

He considered a few moments before answering. “I have no problem with Matara Eve. In fact, I enjoy the challenge of winning her regard.” He gave me an evil grin. “I have to deal with politicians who work against me all day. Do you think Matara Eve’s insults could truly hurt my feelings?”

He had a point.

He shook a finger at the ceiling of the shuttle, as if making a vow to God. “I will make that woman adore me. It has become my mission in life.”

I joined in the laughter. Far from making Clan Aslada want to run for the hills, Mom’s response to them had convinced them to try all the harder to win her over. Despite her best – or would that be worst? – efforts, I think they like her.

“So what’s got you thinking so hard?” I asked.

His humor didn’t vanish, but it did dim. “I’m worried that with all the stress you’re under due to her recovery, my clan is not getting a fair shake with you. We’re not able to show you much of a fun time. You aren’t seeing all we can offer you and Anrel.”

Meyso and Jaon nodded in agreement. I could see they were all concerned about the same thing.

I squeezed Aslada’s hand. “We aren’t getting to have a lot of enjoyment, are we? But you know what? I think it’s giving me more insight into the kind of men you are than if we were.”

Jaon’s brow creased. “In what way?”

“Life isn’t one laugh after another,” I said. “Particularly mine, sadly enough. It’s easy to be friends and lovers when things are going great and we’re all at our best. It’s when life falls apart that you find out who will stick by you and put up with the storms. That’s when you know who you can count on in the worst situations.”

Meyso searched my face. “Are you finding you can rely on us?”

“Absolutely.” My heart warmed to them, these three men who treated Mom in all her temperamental glory with patience, kindness, and even admiration. “Not only have you been wonderful to my mother, but you’ve gone above and beyond all expectations to keep me sane as well. I could never show you all the gratitude you deserve.”

There was a sense of relief from the clan. I was amazed they had been so worried about the matter and glad I could put their minds at ease.

“So,” I said, happy to spend quality time with the fellas. “Where are we going?”

“You’ll see,” Aslada beamed, kissing the back of my hand. “A short but intense escape is in order. Relax and enjoy.”

I wondered what he meant by ‘intense’, especially with Anrel with us. The shuttle was already landing, so I was about to find out.

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